Encouragement from the Studio: Live Loved

Based off of “Uninvited” by Lysa TerKeurst

If my hands are full but inside is nothing but an empty exhausted shell then I am not living in the light of Gods love. Living loved takes a slower pace, it takes time in God's word and time in prayer to bring your focus back to where God wants it, on Him and on His plan for your life. It takes truly dwelling in His word, soaking it up, believing the promises are true and claiming them. Not letting the ways of this fallen world define who you are, but letting God the one who loves you unconditionally fill you with true love. Then and only then can you truly pour love back into those around you. Then you can look at all the situations in your life from a view of love. Living loved keeps you from seeing everything in a negative light and allows you assume the best of others, instead of instantly assuming you have been rejected, forgotten, uninvited or poorly thought of. Living loved allows you to stay firmly rooted in the truth of Gods love for you and changes your view of the world around you. Living loved does not come naturally or easily, it takes discipline and practice. My choice today: to start living loved. Yes I might stumble and fall and have to get up again, but I would much rather walk through life living loved than disappointed and rejected. Gods word calls us to delight in him and to dwell in him. These two words take time. Slow down today to dwell in and delight in God. Claim this promise today, “ The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who DELIGHTS in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.” Pslams 37:23-24. My prayer for you my friends is that you would grab ahold of Gods love for you and live each day loved by Him.

Encouragement from the studio

My blog is a little late this week and I have to admit I am not feeling very creative at this moment. As an artist and a creator you often feel like you have to be creative all the time. It's what people expect. But artists go through ups and downs of creativity, just like the ups and downs of life. My plan this week was to talk to you about decorating in red, white and blue since the 4th of July is just around the corner, but instead I feel led to share some encouragement with you. Maybe we will get to the decorating a little bit later in the post or later in the week. At the moment I am just going where God leads me.

This morning I read the verse Psalms 139:14 “I praise you (God) because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your (God's) works (ME!) are wonderful I know that full well.” Such encouragement in that verse, especially in a time when I feel like I am lacking. Lacking in my creativity, lacking in my motivation, lacking in how I love others, lacking in job orders and much more.

God created me? WOW! God made me just how he wanted me! Amazing! God knows that I will have moments of creativity and moments when I am not so creative, but even then, God made me. He made me a wife, stepmom, artist, home-cook, introvert, quiet, a thinker, a creator, a planner, a problem solver and more. He knows who I am, he knows my sins and he loves me in spite of them. He gives me permission to be who he created me to be, because his works – which is every single living thing on this earth – are wonderful.

But do I give myself permission to be who he created me to be? Or do I hold myself up to an unrealistic standard, one that he has not put into place? Do I allow myself to just be me? No, I don't! I place expectations on myself and high ones at that. Ones that I am not sure God would never think to put there. Some examples are: I must do something creative every week or everyday, I must work at making new designs for Etsy every day to ensure I have sales each week, new and creative dinner recipes must be tried, I can't let my step-kids see me make a mistake and to everyone on the outside my life must look perfect.

Is that what God calls me to? Is that what God made me for? No! God calls me to be who he made me with my imperfections and all. I am wonderful in his eyes, just as I am! Yes, he wants me to work on certain areas, to allow him to refine me, to grow in selflessness, love, kindness, grace, peace, fearlessness, forgiveness and a lot more I am sure. But he has given me the ability to learn those things. Its all part of being fearfully and wonderfully made and being chosen as one of His children. Its part of his wonderful plan for me. But while I am learning and refining, he is loving me unconditionally and he wants me to be who he created me to be.

Can you give yourself permission to be who God made you to be? Can you accept the truth in Psalms 139:14 despite what anyone else tells you? That He loves you, that He created you just as He wants you to be and that you are one of His wonderful works?

I hope that you can! No, you won't accept it perfectly everyday, but I hope you will join me on the journey of allowing this truth to grow in you until you accept it as fact. God loves you, just as you are, where you are, in the midst of the circumstances of your life!

Be sure to check out my Etsy store for inspirational digital prints. www.bethannerickson.etsy.com